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17th Sep 2015

Arrested teenager gets invited to White House by Obama himself

Trine Jensen-Burke

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

After a Texas teenager was taken away in handcuffs this week when staff at his school mistook a clock he had built for a bomb, President Barack Obama himself sent a personal invitation for young Ahmed Mohamed to come visit him at the White House.

The 14-year-old from just outside Dallas in Texas was led away in handcuffs from MacArthur High School on Monday for a project he put together to impress his new high school classmates and teachers, an act which the Council on American-Islamic Relations said serves as an example of the climate of hate and manufactured fear around their religion.

Police said the device was in a case and could be mistaken for a bomb. A spokesman for the local police said religion had nothing to do with their response.

At a news conference in front of his own home, Ahmed told the crowds what had happened: “I built the clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it and I got arrested for it later that day.”

The incident has launched a social media campaign called #IStandWithAhmed, which was the No. 1 trending topic in the United States on Twitter for most of the day with nearly a million tweets, many critical of the school district and police.

And the White House offer wasn’t the only invitation Ahmed received. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also invited the teenager to drop by the company’s head offices in California. .”Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Go Ahmed!